03 January 2011

Quiz time: Can you answer this question?

See if you can answer this test question:
Q: When operating in a building which uses a standpipe system, it is necessary for a firefighter to maintain adequate pressure at the nozzle of the firefighting stream. The correct nozzle pressure is calculated by adding an additional 5 psi (pound per square inch) for each length of hose that is being used, to a constant starting base of 50 psi.
A firefighting team is operating in a building with a standpipe system and is in the process of using 4 lengths of hose. The correct nozzle pressure that needs to be applied in this situation is: A) 50 psi, B) 60 psi, C) 70 psi, D) 80 psi.
Answer below the break...
If you answered C) 70 psi, you're right.
On the surface, [these questions] seem to require an awful lot of familiarity with firefighting equipment and procedural jargon. But when you look closer, you see that in just about every case, the answer can be determined with straightforward logic. In this example, you really don’t need to know what a “standpipe system” is or how pressure is added at the nozzle of a fire hose. You just need to add 5 psi for every length of hose on top of the base pressure of 50. In other words, this is a simple question requiring only basic math.
So, what is the problem?
It may surprise you to learn, then, that this question (and many others like it) have been found by the federal court system to be part of a virulently racist entrance process that has been designed to keep blacks and other minority New Yorkers from becoming firefighters.
The question above was taken from a test that was discarded as too biased against non-whites.
Really (yes, the Village Voice is the voice of reason).
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